BOARDMAN TOWNSHIP, Ohio - It appears the Mahoning and Shenango Valley's are in the driver's seat when it comes to cashing in on the shale drilling boom and the 200-thousand jobs expected to be created in the natural gas industry over the next five years.
That's why local employment agencies are preparing to recruit you. And in fact, the One-Stop employment centers in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in Ohio are part of an interstate agreement with the West Central Job Partnership in Mercer and Lawrence counties in Pennsylvania. All sharing job information and training updates to prepare for what could be a major economic boost to the area.
The shale boom in the Valley is still mostly in the land acquisition and mineral rights stages, but the career opportunities are coming and it's imperative that those who are interested begin preparing now.
At least 20 people were tested Thursday morning at Boardman's One-Stop Center for shale drilling related jobs at V&M's new pipe refinishing plant set to open in 2013. VAM USA, an affiliate of V&M, announced on Monday that it is looking to hire 100 skilled workers.
One-Stop Centers advise anyone that's interested in the shale boom career path to get their resumes on record with their local One-Stop because you may also qualify for training grants.
Bert Cene, the Executive Director of MCTA, the Mahoning & Columbiana Training Association, says, "Go through the process at our One-Stop, which is where everything starts, and suggest that you are interested in further training, and then it will go through the process and if you're eligible we can potentially help you with paying for that."
Seventy percent of the work directly related to the drilling process is blue collar, and Bill Turner, the Workforce Administrator with Trumbull County's One-Stop program, says there are requirements in nearly every aspect of this new career field. "You've got to be able to pass a drug test," Turner said.
You will also need to be prepared, because a number of the jobs are physically demanding and non-traditional. Turner says, "You're going to work two weeks solid, you're going to work 14 straight days without a day off, you're going to sleep at the site or close to it."
It's also important to do your own research on-line about careers in the shale drilling industry.
And the Executive Director of Pennsylvania's West Central Job Partnership, that's working in conjunction with Ohio's One-Stop, says federal funding has created a web site to help people in our area learn more.
Sam Giannetti says the web site www.shalenet.org is a site that individuals can go to and see streaming videos of the jobs themselves and get information on what type of jobs there are at various sites.